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Trade-off in children’s time allocation: embodied capital model of demographic transition in Tanzania

Wednesday, January 17, 2018 - 12:00 to 13:00

Room G02, 55-59 Gordon Square, UCL, London WC1H 0NU
Sophie Hedges, PhD Candidate

Sophie Hedges presents a study of children’s time allocation for work, education and leisure in two communities in Mwanza, Tanzania, representing either end of a local rural-urban gradient.

Embodied capital theory (ECT) argues that socioeconomic ‘modernisation’ leads to high-cost, high-return parental investments in education, in turn incentivising demographic transitions to low fertility. However, few studies have directly investigated the proposed opportunity costs of schooling in contemporary developing populations undergoing socioeconomic change.

Consistent with ECT, town compared to village residence was associated with increased schooling at the expense of time allocation to children’s work. However, these patterns apply primarily to boys, for whom herding work is relatively incompatible with schooling. Girls more readily combine domestic chores with school attendance, a pattern which may account for unexpectedly high female school enrolment in this population.

Finally, the strongest time allocation trade-offs were not between school and work, but between school and leisure time. International development programs should consider the wellbeing implications of reduced leisure time accompanying education uptake, particularly for girls maintaining a ‘double-shift’ of school and domestic work

About the Speaker:

Sophie Hedges is currently undertaking a PhD focusing on parental investment in child education and child work in rural Northern Tanzania at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

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